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Research Groups


Cell cycle and Mitosis

The embryonic development of and the maintenance of healthy adult of a eukaryotic organism depends on faithful mitosis. During mitosis, the duplicated genetic materials were transmitted into two daughter cells. Errors in mitosis will lead to aneuploidy daughter cells, and will promote tumorgenesis and other diseases. The morphology and structure of cells changed sharply during mitosis, although the time span of mitosis is short comparing to the whole cell cycle. The course of mitosis is highly dynamic and is under the fine regulation of mitotic kinases (e.g. CDK1, PLK1, Aurora A/B), protein phosphotase and Ubiquitin E3 ligase APC/C. The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is a surveillance mechanism to safeguard the faithful chromosome segregation. Until all chromosomes achieved correct kinetochore-microtubule attachment, the cells enter anaphase due to the satisfaction of SAC. We are interested on the following scientific questions:

  • The molecular composition, assembly, structure and function of kinetochore;
  • The establishment of stable kinetochore-microtubule attachment;
  • Functions and regulations of mitotic kinases;
  • Functions and regulations of motor protein involved in mitosis;
  • The signaling pathway and molecular mechanism of SAC;


Chemical Biology and Drug Action

Numerous proteins temporally and spatially have important roles in intracellular transport or cell division. Kinesins are a family of molecular motor proteins that power cargo movements on microtubules using ATP. As the most important post-translational modification of proteins, phosphorylation plays essential roles in all aspects of biological processes. We focus on chemical biological studies of kinesins and kinases over the past 16 years, which have allowed the development of specific chemical inhibitors to probe the precise functions of individual motor proteins and kinases in space and time. Modern drug discovery involves the identification of screening hits, medicinal chemistry and optimization of those hits to increase the affinity, selectivity, efficacy/potency, metabolic stability, and oral bioavailability. Once a compound that fulfills all of these requirements has been identified, it will begin the process of drug development prior to clinical trials.


Cell Dynamics and Extracellular Cues

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is fundamental to the form and function of soft connective tissues. Cells within these tissues establish the ECM during development, maintain it in health, remodel it during adaptations and repair it in response to disease and injury. Interactions between cells and their extracellular matrix regulate a wide variety of cellular processes of crucial importance for cell behavior such as migration, growth, differentiation, embryonic development, immune responses, cell death/survival ,cell-cell adhesion and so on.
Our lab focus on proteins which provide a platform for the transmission of signals in responses to extracellular cues, such as Ezrin, ARF6, ACAP4. Meanwhile, These proteins provide a regulated linkage between the membrane and the underlying cytoskeleton. We devote to utilize cell biology technology, molecular biology technology, advanced microscopy techniques (deconvolution microscopy, super resolution microscopy technology) to revealthe mechanism of Cell-ECM crosstalk and Cytoskeleton–ECM functional relevance.We also develop the proteomics technology to discover the function of protein post-translational modification (such as phosphorylation and acetylation) in Extracellular Cues Dynamics.


Cell Metabolism, autophage and plasticity

细胞在不同的环境下,受到不同的信号分子的刺激,引发不同的下游信号通路,以应对当前细胞所处的环境及状态,做出相应的应答。在这些生物学现象中,生物机体内部会经过一系列严格的,有序的生化反应,这些反应是否能被有效激活并且能被有效传递,对于细胞个体而言十分重要,细胞通过对代谢、自噬以及可塑性的有效调节,从而完成增殖,分裂,分化,凋亡等一系列过程。本小组的研究内容就是基于细胞内部可能存在的各个不同的信号通路网络,对其上下游信号的传递方式,传递效率,参与反应的蛋白之间的相互作用,以及通过多种不同方式对该反应可能存在的调控方式,可能由此产生的影响,对细胞形态可能发生的变化,细胞膜内外的物质及信号交流进行探索。本小组涉及到关键分子有ACAP4, Acapin, ARF6, LKB1, AMPK, APPL1等。